After 44 years behind the wheel of a Yellow Bus and driving a total of nearly 800,000 miles, Steve Sanders has pulled the handbrake on his career.
The popular driver has retired aged 66 after working a total of 2,053 weeks for Bournemouth’s brightest bus company.
Managing Director Andrew Smith was there to meet him after his final passengers were delivered to their destinations.
Steve joined the company in 1973 and spent six months as a conductor before getting behind the wheel.
Since then he has driven enough miles to take him to the moon and back … then to the moon again!
Steve said: “I’ve always liked the job; I joined as a stop-gap and just stayed.
“I like the actual nuts and bolts of the job and I will miss that, but also the friends and the camaraderie.
“Although the job is now essentially the same as when I started, the technology has made it different.
“When I joined there were no computers and some of the buses didn’t have power-steering.
“The vehicles have improved but there is more traffic and it goes much faster. I’m now looking forward to my retirement and spending time with my wife Sue.
“I’ll be back though, riding on the buses as a passenger and I’ll stay in touch with all my friends.”
MD Andrew Smith presented Steven with a token of the company’s appreciation and said: “I’d like to thank Steven for his long service
“Few people now spend their whole careers at one place but Steven has been a fixture on the buses for almost half a century.
“He’s very well known among the passengers and is always being recognised around town.
“I wish him all the very best for his retirement.”
It’s all change this weekend as Yellow Buses rolls out its colourful new network. Leader of Bournemouth Council, Cllr John Beesley, and Bournemouth Borough Council’s Executive Director for Environment and Economy, Bill Cotton, visited the bus company’s Yeomans Way depot in readiness for the launch on Sunday (January 15).
Yellow Buses has introduced eight colour coded lines through Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch and will be serving Ringwood for the first time in its history. The new lines – Bourne, Priory, Uni, Royal, Village, Coast, Dolphin and Heath – reflect the company’s strong local connectivity and sense of community.
The new routes operating on each line with be denoted by the first letter of the name – e.g ‘R’ (for Royal) followed by the service number such as 1, 2, 3 or 4. All of the current 22 service numbers have changed with the exception of four routes which are subsidised by Bournemouth Borough Council and the Borough of Poole. The new network will focus on key hubs, including the Royal Bournemouth Hospital and Bournemouth University, while offering new off-peak connections to destinations such as Mudeford, Verwood and Ringwood.
To make it easier for passengers the new route map resembles the iconic London Underground map. The new network is designed to reflect the changing life and work patterns of its passengers as well as simplifying the routes and addressing congestion. Extra early morning and late night services have been introduced on some routes to help shift workers at locations such as Bournemouth town centre, Poole town centre and the Royal Bournemouth Hospital. Journey times have also being revised on several routes in order to improve punctuality and reliability, while bus frequencies and timings are being simplified to help customers.
Andrew Smith, Managing Director, said: “We have spent a long time speaking with passengers and analysing data in order to make the changes work for everyone. Yellow Buses in one form or another has proudly served Bournemouth and the surrounding area for 114 years, but the needs and requirements of our passengers are constantly changing. Our new network highlights that unique local bond with the introduction of an even more customer orientated service using route names which reflect the area served. It’s a network designed for the needs of our customers in 2017 and we believe it will prove very popular.”
Cllr John Beesley, leader of Bournemouth Council and formerly a non-executive director of Yellow Buses, said: “The new network and colour-coded system will make it easier and more convenient for passengers. And the map is instantly recognisable because it’s based on that of the London Underground so it will help visitors and tourists.”
Full details of the new network can be found on Yellow Buses’ website at www.bybus.co.uk
Children at King’s Park Academy got a kick out of one special lesson when Cherries’ soccer star Dan Gosling came to visit on a Yellow Bus.
He is player ambassador for the Cherries Community Sport Trust’s ‘Soccer Safety School’ that is driving safety lessons into classrooms.
Yellow Buses is a sponsor and helping the club visit schools in the community where youngsters are taught how to stay safe.
Three Year 5 classes at King’s Park Academy met Dan Gosling and club legend Steve Fletcher and took part in a safety quiz with a chance to win tickets for a game.
Club mascot Cherry Bear was also there and the children were thrilled to have VIP guests at their school.
Steve Cuss, the club’s Head of Community, has developed the programme that is proving a hit across the conurbation.
He said: “Together with Yellow Buses we have been bringing fun safety lessons to schools – and we are still looking for new schools to join.
“The Safety Soccer School highlights the risks and dangers that children face when out playing.
“These involve road safety, which is something that Yellow Buses are experts in.
“We all want our children to be healthy and fit but we also want them to remain safe when they’re playing.”
Midfielder Dan Gosling said: “It was great to meet all the children, especially as the school is the nearest one to our ground.
“There were lots of Cherries’ fans amongst them and having a safety lesson on a bus must be a bit different for them.”
Lauren Dean, Associate Principal of King’s Park Academy, said: “A fantastic afternoon was had by our Year 5 children when Yellow Buses and AFCB visited for a soccer safety session.
“We love working with the community as it inspires and enthuses our children and gives them lasting memories.”
Fiona Harwood, from Yellow Buses, said: “As we had Cherries’ stars on this school visit we provided our AFC Bournemouth Bus, which has a Cherries’ theme throughout the interior and is in regular service.”
YELLOW Buses is to take delivery of six new double-deckers at a cost of £1.3 million.
The bus company has placed an order with Scottish manufacturer Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL) for its new MMC E400 model. Delivery is scheduled for next spring, ready for Yellow Buses’ busy summer period. Details of the interiors, seating capacity and other features will be announced nearer their arrival.
Mike Conroy, Operations Manager, said: “I am sure all our drivers will be pleased to drive the new additions when they arrive. The vehicles are very impressive and will make a real impact on our business. Drivers and customers will love them.”
Phil Pannell, Service Delivery Director, said: “This investment of more than £1.3 million is a clear signal that we are continuing to replace our fleet with the latest design of customer-focused and environmentally friendly vehicles. These buses will have Cummins Euro 6 engines and a host of attractive features which we will announce nearer the launch.”
The agreement to purchase the new double-deckers was signed at Euro Bus Expo 2016 at Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre. Yellow Buses operates a fleet of 131 buses and 18 coaches with a staff of 430. It carries just under 15m passengers a year with its vehicles operating nearly five million miles across the Bournemouth, Poole, Christchurch and East Dorset area.
Yellow Buses is part of RATP Group, the world’s fifth largest public transport provider. www.bybus.co.uk
The company has been supporting the arts for years and has a Poetry Bus and Gallery Bus among the themed vehicles in its fleet.
Now it is helping to drive the annual festival forward by linking up with the Bournemouth Council organisers.
The festival takes place in venues around the town from October 8 to October 15 and includes music, dance, poetry, theatre, film, and installations.
There is a packed programme with most of it completely free and the Yellows will be helping the visitors get around.
Fiona Harwood from the Yellows said: “We are well-known for supporting the arts and have had poets and artists in residence on our buses.
“The resulting Gallery and Poetry buses are extremely popular and it shows us what appetite there is for the arts.
“We’ll be carrying programmes on the buses and helping passengers and visitors get to the right venues.”
Those venues include the Bandstand in the gardens, Arts University Bournemouth, The Triangle, Bournemouth Square, Lower Gardens, Pier Approach, Central Gardens, The Shelley Theatre, The Pavilion and several churches.
Andrea Francis from the Arts by the Sea Festival, which is funded by Bournemouth Borough Council and Arts Council England, said: “This is our sixth annual festival and there is something for everyone.
“Our website gives all the information and allows people to search what’s on. And we hope they’ll use the Yellows to get around.”
Pic caption: Artsea people: (l-r) Libby Battaglia from the festival, Amy Lee Foot from the Yellows, Andrea Francis and Roxy Robinson from the festival and Fiona Harwood from the Yellows.